Negotiation Between North Korea Dprk  Thesis

  • Length: 12 pages
  • Subject: History - Asian
  • Type: Thesis
  • Paper: #26766248

Excerpt from Thesis :

m. To 6 a.m.), the overtime premium is 100% of the hourly wage rate. In some cases, North Korean workers have asked for additional night shift or weekend work in order to qualify for additional pay. Companies also may pay cash rewards as a special incentive. KIC employees receive 14 days per year in vacation time. At first, North Korean workers were reluctant to ask for leave time, but now they do. Female employees receive 60 days paid maternity leave. Labor costs in Kaesong are approximately 8% of those in a South Korean metropolitan area. South Korean labor laws extend to South Korean workers in the KIC." (Nanto and Manyin, 2008)

It was reported that Unification Ministry officials confirmed in April 2007 that the DPRK had made a request that pay be raised 30% and 10% for members of the North Korean workforce who had graduated from two- and four-year colleges respectively. The two categories comprise approximately 11% each of the workforce of North Korea in the KIC. It is related that wages are paid in dollars to North Korean workers. Additionally the labor law in Article 43 of the Labor Law of the Kaesong Industrial Complex states that "wages must be paid directly to employees in cash." (Nanto and Manyin, 2008) However, according to the DPRK "this is not being implemented now because of the lack of foreign exchange centers in the KIC." (Nanto and Manyin, 2008) According to the ROK Ministry of Unification "...$57.50 minimum monthly salary, $7.50 or 15% of the base pay goes for social insurance (providing for unemployment and occupational hazards). The government also deducts $15 or 30% for a socio-cultural policy fee that goes for rental of state-owned housing, education, medical services, social insurance, and social welfare and reportedly is given to the Kaesong City People's Committee. According to the Ministry, the remaining $35 is paid to the workers in cash (upwards of 5% in North Korean won) or as chits that can be exchanged for daily supplies (food and necessities).32 at the exchange rate of 140 North Korean won per dollar, the $35 translates into 4,900 won. (a kilogram of rice costs about 44 won if bought from North Korea's public distribution system but as much as 1,000 won if bought on the open market. The average family consumes about 60 kilograms of rice per month.) Companies provide the workers with a way to verify their wages by having them sign a ledger or provide a pay slip when they receive their pay." (Nanto and Manyin, 2008)

It was announce by the ROK Ministry of Unification in November 2006: "that it was working with an Australian-South Korean company (Lobana Trading Company) to provide basic necessities to Kaesong. These items are sold primarily at the Kaesong Department Store.34 Since the government distribution system covers only part of a family's needs for items such as rice and sugar, the rest of the basic necessities are obtained by barter or purchased at the department store, even though prices are higher there." (Nanto and Manyin, 2008)

The method of transportation for commuting to the Kaesong Industrial Complex is stated in the work of Nanto and Manyin (2008) to include: 'some 1,000 bicycles also provided for workers living closer to the complex. According to the KIC Management Council, the health condition of workers at the KIC has visibly improved as they have had access to better nutrition."

Recruitment of workers is through North Korea's Central Guidance Agency on Special Zone Development is accomplished by North Korea's Central Guidance Agency on Special Zone Development, a cabinet level administrative body. According to Nanto and Manyin (2008) the hiring company "...may reject any recruit provided or if the recruit does not demonstrate the requisite skills (e.g., sewing), hire the worker as a trainee at 70% or less of the minimum wage. Employers cannot freely punish or fire incompetent workers. They must give instructions through North Korean mid-level managers. Directly scolding employees is regarded as humiliation and prohibited. The experience of many companies, however, is that labor management is a challenge during the start-up phase of a factory in the KIC. Gradually, however, North Korean workers begin to identify with the company, and a level of trust is developed between the South Korean executives and the North Korean managers and workers." (Nanto and Manyin, 2008)

Nanto and Manyin state that North Korean workers presently "...do not have the right to change employers. This promises to keep labor costs from escalating as they have in other developing markets as foreign firms bid for skilled workers. This also provides companies in the KIC with a stable (though aging) workforce. This practice, however, conflicts with what would be consistent with internationally accepted workers' rights." (Nanto and Manyin, 2008)

The work of the Human Rights Watch entitled: "North Korea: Workers' Rights at the Kaesong Industrial Complex" (2008) states that the "Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK, North Korea) opened the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC) in June 2004 under a contract with Hyundai Asan Corporation and state-owned Korea Land Corporation of the Republic of Korea (ROK, South Korea). The complex is located between the city of Kaesong and the western end of the border between the two Koreas, an hour's car ride from Seoul. As of August 2006, 13 South Korean companies had opened facilities at the KIC, employing about 8,200 northern workers to produce watches, shoes, clothes, kitchenware, plastic containers, electrical cords and car parts, among other items. Ten other companies are preparing to start operations in the near future. North and South Korea have an ambitious plan to expand the complex to employ 730,000 North Korean workers by 2012. A specific KIC Labor Law was drafted and adopted to govern the rights of workers employed by enterprises in the KIC." (Human Rights Watch, 2008) it is stated to be accepted generally that it is prohibited by North Korea for political opposition or independent civil society to be organized. Specifically stated is: "This country has an abysmal human rights record, including arbitrary arrests, pervasive use of torture, lack of due process and fair trials, and executions. There is no freedom of information or freedom of religion. There are no independent trade unions or labor activism. Most North Koreans do not enjoy the freedom to choose their own occupation, because job assignments follow the state's central economic plan, rather than individual talents or wishes." (2008) Conditions of work at the Kaesong Industrial Complex are stated to have been "...source of debate and working conditions at the KIC have been a subject of debate. Jay Lefkowitz, the United States special envoy on human rights in North Korea, has raised concerns about possible worker exploitation at the KIC, particularly the low salaries and their indirect payment. South Korea's Ministry of Unification (in charge of North Korea relations, including joint projects such as the KIC) responded by saying that the North Korean workers at the KIC are paid better than elsewhere in the country and that their labor conditions meet international standards. The Ministry also noted that South Korea is "making technical preparations for direct payment for northern workers," as required under the inter-Korean agreement on the KIC. (2008) Humans Right Watch states that the KIC Labor Law, while addressing certain workers rights is missing "many of the fundamental rights..."including the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining, the right to strike, the prohibition on sex discrimination and sexual harassment, and the ban on harmful child labor. Absent legal protections requiring that these rights be respected, Human Rights Watch is concerned that they may be violated with impunity." (2008) North Korea has been urged by the Human Rights Watch and in regards to the KIC Labor Law to: (1) Join the International Labor Organization (ILO); (2) Accede to the ILO's core treaties; (3) Invite ILO officials to discuss the protection and promotion of workers' rights; and (4) Amend the KIC Labor Law to meet international labor standards, and ensure the law is effectively enforced." (Human Rights Watch, 2008) Further, the Human Rights Watch has urged South Korea to: (1) Ensure South Korean companies operating at the KIC are respecting workers' rights; and (3) Promote the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. (2008) it is related that the labor laws of North Korea, including the labor laws of North Korea have as its basis the ideology of 'juche' or self-reliance, socialism, communism and the policies of the Workers' Party." (Human Rights Watch, 2008) These guiding principles or instructions by former President Kim II have legal force that supersedes the constitution or laws." (Human Rights Watch, 2008)

It is additionally stated: "North Korea's labor laws are composed of the Socialist Labor Law and relevant provisions in the constitution and the penal code, in addition to laws concerning foreign investors and businesses. The state has full control over the labor market, and the law permits only labor organizations sanctioned and controlled by the state. Under North…

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